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Disney’s Coco voice actor Ana Ofelia Murguía dies aged 90

Ana Ofelia Murguía, the Mexican actress who voiced great-grandmother Mama Coco in the Oscar-winning Disney Pixar animation Coco, has died aged 90.

Disney's Coco voice actor Ana Ofelia Murguía dies aged 90
Disney’s Coco voice actor Ana Ofelia Murguía dies aged 90

She had a key part in the film about a Mexican boy who crosses to the Land of the Dead, uncovering family secrets while trying to become a musician.

The movie highlights the Day of the Dead and celebrates Mexico’s culture.

Its National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature said her career was “vital for the performing arts of Mexico“.

One of Coco’s most memorable moments was the scene where Mama Coco and her great-grandson Miguel sing Remember Me together.

He sings: “For even if I’m far away I hold you in my heart,” and she joins in to sing: “Until you’re in my arms again… Remember me.”

The film is set during the Day of the Dead festival held each year in South American countries, including Mexico, celebrating the cycle of life and death.

Big parades are held and people often paint their faces to look like skulls, remembering friends and family who have died and passed into the afterlife.

“With deep sadness we regret the sensitive death of the leading actress Ana Ofelia Murguía, who was part of the stable cast of the National Theater Company of Mexico, and whose artistic career was vital for the performing arts of Mexico,” the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature added.

Born in Mexico in 1933, Murguía won a special lifetime achievement Golden Ariel award in 2011 at a ceremony recognising the best of the Mexican cinema industry.

She shared the prize, for her career spanning more than 40 years in stage, film and television, with director and writer Jorge Fons.

She also won best supporting actress at the Ariel awards in 1979, 1986 and 1996 for films including 1994’s La Reina de la Noche (The Queen of the Night), about a female cabaret artist who remakes her career in Mexico after leaving Berlin following an incident with the Nazis.

Celebrating Coco’s double Oscar win in 2018 for best animated film and best original song, one of its producers, Lee Unkrich, said his biggest thanks went to Mexico and that the film could not have existed without its “endlessly beautiful culture and traditions”.

“With Coco, we tried to take a step forward toward a world where all children can grow up seeing characters in movies that look and talk and live like they do,” he told the audience.

“Marginalised people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters.”

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